1. Present i) Drammatico
2. Present ii) Inquieto
3. Present iii) Vigoroso
4. Present iv) Piangevole
5. Beacon Hill
6. You Cut the String
7. Unquiet Earth i) Alla Fantasia
8. Unquiet Earth ii) Alla Danza
1-4) Present for string quartet
Bingham String Quartet
Steve Bingham - violin
Marina Gillam - violin
Brenda Stewart - viola
James Halsey – cello
Recorded at Rectory Studios, Cambridge, UK , 2010 and 2011
5) Beacon Hill for ensemble
Mary Katherine Finch - cello
Wallace Halladay - saxophones
Rob MacDonald - guitar
Calum Macleod - bass
Jerry Pergolesi - percussion
Allison Wiebe - piano.
Recorded by Bryan Lowe, Toronto, Canada, 2011
6) You Cut the String for electric violin and loops
Steve Bingham – electric violin
Recorded at Rectory Studios, Cambridge, 2010.
7-8) Unquiet Earth for piano trio
Einar Røttingen - piano
John Ehde – cello
Recorded in Bergen, Norway, by Jan Øyvind Hannevik, 2010
Mastering by Simon Heyworth, assisted by Andy Hill, at Super Audio Mastering, Chagford, Devon, UK., April 2011.
Sleeve Design by Jim Marsden Photography
"￼￼￼￼￼Andrew Keeling's diverse career has previously led to work with Evelyn Glennie, The Hilliard Quartet and King Crimson, and in the chamber works on Unquiet Earth he exhibits a similar straddling of influences.
His string quartet piece "Present" isn't so much anti-contemporary classical in style so much as reinforcing pre-modernist forms with the buttresses of minimalism – the latter also notably present in the hypnotic waves of "You Cut the String", written for Steve Bingham's electric violin.
But throughout, there's an intimate, discursive quality to the way Keeling manipulates his chosen compositional elements, the urgent rhythmic motifs and triadic tone structures, particularly in the more reflective passages of "Unquiet Earth"."
Andy Gill, the Independent July 7th 2012
"Over the last decade or so, Andrew Keeling has covered a lot of ground. Aside from his love of fell-walking, as a composer he’s been striding purposefully across varied territories. There’s been the contemporary chamber settings on Quickening The Dead, improvised music on English Sun (joined by ex-King Crimson violinist David Cross) and more recently, a reversion to his pre-classical roots as a folky on First Things and Soror. The rock-orientated Bells Of Heaven in which Keeling goes electric also provides further testimony to his eclecticism.
Despite such radically different facets a constant seam veined throughout his work has been an unerring facility with melody. Returning to contemporary chamber music, his writing on Unquiet Earth, energetically bustles with bright timbres and strident rhythms on Present for string quartet and the title track, scored for piano trio.
Keeling's careful balance between harmonic impact and understated drama is masterful and Beacon Hill is the album’s outstanding piece. Sombre gently chiming percussion, electric guitar and dark, rumbles of cello and piano slowly part, allowing a keening violin to emerge like a silvery light between pensive clouds. Joined by saxophone, a similarly mournful line is gently etched, yet as the piece comes to rest a pale but hopeful light prevails."
Sid Smith, June 23rd 2012
"String soundscapes from a devotee of King Crimson.
Anyone familiar with the name of Andrew Keeling might well be so through a context other than his music, not least as the author of studies on several of King Crimson's progressive rock albums from the 19702. Those apprehensive of half-baked crossover, however, need not worry, as Keeling's output is nothing if not rigorous in its application of principles and trenchant in formal evolution: modal tonality devoid of the chauvinistic overtones often associated with such thinking.
With its inspiration in Schubert, Present (2006) might appear beholden to the classic string quartet literature, yet there is little that fulfils such expectations in music whose juxtaposition of contrasted motion and expressions cuts across the four-movement trajectory such that the piece unfolds with purposeful underlying momentum. If Unquiet Earth (2005) feels less convincing, this may be because of its overtly discursive content, in which the more incisive passages seem added in to the prevailing introspection rather than emerging inevitably out of it. Beacon Hill (2010) conjures an ominous atmosphere from its instrumental septet, in contrast to the inscrutably abstract progress of You Cut The String (2008), with its timbral exploration of the five-string electric violin multitracked and 'looped' in a manner recalling Robert Fripp's hypnotic guitar soundscapes. Dedicated performances, not least from the ever-inquiring Steve Bingham, and crystal-clear sound make for a highly recommendable release - though Spaceward should desist from printing booklet annotations in upper case against a marbled background in future."
Richard Whitehouse, Gramophone, October 2012